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The Return of the Prodigal Son, Pompeo Batoni, 1773 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Return of the Prodigal Son, Pompeo Batoni, 1773, Kunst Historishes Museum Wien (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1. A British Father

Pompeo Batoni [1]
500 Britons, a conservative estimate
up to 2,000 Britons would have joined Isis

A British father is making a plea. He is asking the United Kingdom to facilitate the return of Britons who have joined Isis. He has lost two sons. Canadians have also joined Isis and two would-be members are dead: Michael Zehaf-Bibeau and Martin Rouleau-Couture or Couture-Rouleau. They killed and were killed, but they too had a family.

According to a conservative estimate, 500 Britons have joined the militants. A less conservative estimate places the number of Britons who left for Syria and elsewhere at nearly 2,000. Several are dead and parents mourn. The less conservative estimate (2,000) may precede the beheading of American journalists and British aid workers.



2. Canadian Fathers

Rembrandt van Rijn [2]
Zakria Habibi’s father
Martin Couture-Rouleau’s father

Canadian Zakria Habibi’s father, a Sherbrookois (from Sherbrooke, Quebec), went looking for his son in Turkey. Zakria has been missing since mid-July. His family is no longer hearing from him.

http://www.lapresse.ca/la-tribune/sherbrooke/201410/23/01-4811826-zakria-habibi-enrole-chez-les-djihadistes.php FR


As for Québécois Martin Couture-Rouleau, who killed a soldier at Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu on 21 October 2014, his father is asking that security legislation be tightened.




The Return of the Prodigal Son, Rembrandt van Rijn, c. 1661–1669. Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

3. Why and how young men were radicalized

the search for an identity

As I wrote in a previous post, no one knows with certainty why and how young men were radicalized, and why they wanted to go overseas, to Syria mainly.

However, some may have been in search of an identity. Mr. Couture-Rouleau was a French-Canadian, but Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau was of Libyan descent. Many adopted children go in search of their biological parents, often to the bitter disappointment of their adoptive parents. The same could be true of the sons of immigrants.

4. Facilitating a Return to Britain or Canada or …

Il Guercino [3]
disillusioned youth
cannon fodder

It may not be possible for worried fathers and mothers to find their sons. Their sons or daughters may have died or are running the risk of being killed if they defect. They have not found an identity most could accept. On the contrary! They are witnesses to atrocities one cannot imagine and some may have been used as mere flesh. The men who killed soldiers in Canada were leaving knowing that journalists and aid workers had been starved, tortured and beheaded. These facts have emerged in a relatively recent past.

In other words, those who wish to return home may not have known they would be cannon fodder (chair à canon), mere expendable flesh. However, they may no longer be expendable. First, they know too much. Second, their defection could now deplete the ranks of Isis. The coalition is not allowing would-be terrorists to leave. One of last week’s Canadian killers was denied a passport. As for Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the Parliament Hill killer, it could be that he was about to be refused a passport and knew.

5. A Criminal or a Terrorist: the Current Debate

Some Canadian politicians view Zehaf-Bibeau as a criminal, others, as a terrorist. Allow me to send you information with respect to this matter.

A criminal or a terrorist?


6. Canada’s  role in the U. S. led coalition

However, the more relevant and saddening news is that Canada may now play a more aggressive role in the U.S. led coalition fighting Isis. I understand the Parliament’s decision to join the U.S. led coalition (157/134; 7 October 2014), but I would have voted against military engagement. Six hundred dogs were in the Middle East in 2011 and, without a certain dog, a Belgian Shepherd Malinois named Cairo, Osama bin Laden might not have been located and killed.





I thought of the woman taken in adultery when I read that Isis militants were using punishment that far exceeded the woman’s crime and would not have been meted out by today’s Muslims.

Very few of us are in a position to throw stones. (John 7:53.)


Christ with the Woman Taken in Adultery, by Il Guercino, 1621 (Dulwich Picture Gallery)


Saint Peter, Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, called Il Guercino (Photo credit: alaintruong.com)

But now I am thinking of the parable of the Prodigal Son. The prodigal son’s older brother, who has been virtuous all his life, cannot understand why a father would celebrate the return of a son who was “lost.”

“But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” (Luke 15:32.)


I wish all of you a good weekend.



[1] “Pompeo Girolamo Batoni”. Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2014. Web. 31 oct.. 2014

[2] “Rembrandt van Rijn”. Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2014. Web. 31 oct.. 2014

[3] “Il Guercino”. Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2014. Web. 31 oct.. 2014

About hyphenated names.
In Quebec, women must keep their maiden name. Children sometimes use both their mother’s name and their father’s.
  • JOSEPH HAYDN “Symphony No. 7 ‘Le Midi’ in C major, Hob. I:7: III. Menuetto” de Camerata Academica Salzburg, Hans Reinartz
  • ANTONIO VIVALDI Vivaldi & Batoni – Sonata para dos violines Op. 1 Nº 1 en sol menor, RV 73 – I Musici

49141964Head of a Young Man in Profile, Il Guercino (Photo credit: alaintruong.com)

© Micheline Walker
31 October 2014